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USDA gives $15M loan to Bowman hospital project

Representing a significant chunk of the total cost for the project, the United States Department of Agriculture on Monday announced that $15 million in financing has been secured for a new hospital and clinic in Bowman.

The money -- in the form of a low-interest loan -- represents more than half the cost of a project that is expected to have a price tag of $25 million and is set to include a new Southwest Healthcare Services facility for the growing community, said Southwest Marketing Director Allison Engelhart.

In a statement, USDA Rural Development state director Jasper Schneider pointed to growth in southwest North Dakota as a leading factor in the decision to approve money for the Bowman project.

"Southwest Healthcare has seen a growing demand for their medical services in Bowman due to the oil boom and aging population," Schneider said. "This project will help better serve the increasing number of patients and allow for possible future expansion."

Engelhart said paperwork for the USDA money was finalized in late September.

Officials are planning for the remaining financing to come through the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. That financing is expected to be decided upon later this month.

The USDA financing is part of its Community Facilities program with additional financing slated to come from the North Dakota Medical Infrastructure Loan Program and from Southwest Healthcare Services, according to USDA spokesperson Samantha Evenson.

On Southwest's website, a targeted completion date for the project is stated as "early 2015," though the USDA release cites fall 2015 as the project's estimated time for completion.

Expected to be nearly 60,000 square feet, the new facility would replace the existing Southwest hospital and clinic campuses and would include 10 impatient beds, a new ER department, lab and diagnostic departments and a primary care clinic, among other amenities, according to the USDA release.

Engelhart directed further comment about the project to Southwest Healthcare Services Administrator Becky Hansen, who, as of Monday evening, had not returned a message left by The Press.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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